by carl wilson

Hearts Are Broken, Heads Are Turned

Owen Pallett at the Music Gallery in Toronto on June 25, in a photography by Sonia K., gently plucked from the Final Fantasy chat site.

There's been far less interwebbage than I expected about Saturday night's concert here by Final Fantasy (aka Owen Pallett) and the St. Kitts String Quartet at the Music Gallery, and so it falls to me to tell you that if you were not there, you were not anywhere. It's always been remarkable, in the past year, to witness this skinny flop-haired stiff-as-a-board shy person shuffle onto the stage, begin drawing his bow and fingers over the violin and dance his socked feet around his looper pedals and unleash all the angels and demons of the deep, his grade-school-christmas-concert voice unspooling a parallel tattered ribbon of furious demands, cryptic jokes and mournful questions. But to witness this uncanny transformation while four accomplished grownups of concert music behind him generate a whole other well of emotion with sheets of intricate and assured scores penned by the very same person... Well, and that's not even the point. The point is that Owen also sang a dozen-plus new songs intended for his second album, later this year, and that most of them are so beautiful and emotional - if much less pop-assimilable than Has a Good Home - that my jaw kept dropping so hard I'm sure it unhinged, and I kept swiveling to goggle my eyes at my friends in the pews of the lovely (and packed-out) church and make giddy-distressed gasps the way you do when you do not realize you have been holding your breath. How this is possible with songs that are literally based on the arts of divination in Dungeons & Dragons and have titles like Honour the Dead, or Else! and Many Lives --> 49 MP and Song, Song, Song, is the kind of mystery art always threatens to spring on you but too often reneges on, in which a human being just applies extreme imaginative pressure to the mundane and it turns diamond; not to mention how the songs can involve so much humour, discordance, and hoarse yelling and yet still be so full of hurt and death-haunted tenderness.

In short, despite its inbuilt rough patches, and despite my own full awareness that I've already skated outside the lines of hyperbole, this show has lodged itself stubbornly into that slate board on which the memory chalks its list of the best concerts we've ever seen. And of all the marvels that have come out of this central-Canada bloom in DIY creative song-and-sound-making activity in the past half-decade, I think Owen Pallett may be the most singular, the ace in the goddam hole. This album, if he can slow himself down and linger over the recording (as he didn't, really, quite, for the first), is going to be a special thing. (It's also going to be called He Poos Clouds, just in case you thought things were getting a little too highfalutin'.)

I was not keeping notes and so I cannot provide you with the play-by-play the event deserved (though I can mention that openers Torngat from Montreal, a trio of keys & drums & French horn, were also terrific even if their Stereolab-meets-free-improv groove occasionally cruises a little much into tuneful-minimalist-French-movie-soundtrack territory for my tastes), but it was recorded for future broadcast by the CBC's Brave New Waves, so I'll try to let you know when your chance to redeem your sorry lot comes up.

Meanwhile, two 7"s (The George Cedric Metcalf Foundation and Young Canadian Mothers) are coming out from It's A Disaster and Escape Goat records, and chances to catch Owen solo abound for the next few weeks, after which they will, he warns, become scarce for awhile. Many but not all these shows are with the charming Barmitzvah Brothers. I may see you at one or two.


Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, June 29 at 7:22 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (5)



ditto with everything. frickin' great show. one question:

"...that my jaw kept dropping so hard I'm sure it unhinged, and I kept swiveling to goggle my eyes at my friends in the pews of the lovely (and packed-out) church and make giddy-distressed gasps the way you do when you do not realize you have been holding your breath"

were you the guy sitting on the left edge of the right set of pews, about 8 rows back? cause he kept making said expressions and ejaculations as I was trying to contain same!

Posted by andrew on June 30, 2005 8:38 AM




Posted by Sean on June 30, 2005 1:38 AM



i also video taped the whole show. some clips will probably appearon my website a few weeks or so from now.

Posted by kevin on June 29, 2005 11:29 PM



I had much the same emotional reaction when I saw him play the gallery back in feb-can massey hall be that far away?

Posted by PG on June 29, 2005 8:10 PM



this was a superb show.
the ff livejournal community already has audio!

Posted by brian on June 29, 2005 7:29 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson